Solar News & Wind News (Electric Slavery, Insanity In Congress…)

Weekly solar and wind energy news comes to GBE from Zach Shahan at CleanTechnica.

Solar News & Wind News (Electric Slavery, Insanity In Congress…) (via Clean Technica)

Top 50 Solar Energy Stories Of 2013 (So Far): Part 1 (#1–10)

Thanks to Zach Shahan at CleanTechnica for posting this listing of the top solar stories for this year.

Top 50 Solar Energy Stories Of 2013 (So Far): Part 1 (#1–10) (via Planetsave)

Washington Gas Energy Systems to Build and Operate MA Solar Project

Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc. today announced it has signed a contract with the town of Bellingham, Mass. to build, own and operate a 3,802-kilowatt solar array that will provide renewable energy for the town. The ground-mounted installation will consist of 12,672 panels and is expected to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to the planting of more than 1,600,000 pine trees or avoiding the use of more than 7 million gallons of gasoline over the next two decades.

wgesystems logo

Washington Gas Energy Systems will own and operate the solar facility under a 20-year power purchase agreement. The project was developed by NextSun Energy and will be engineered and constructed by Gehrlicher Solar.

“The town and school officials evaluated several firms interested in similar projects but recognized the proven track record of NextSun Energy. Their relationship with Washington Gas Energy Systems ensures the project will be a success for all involved,” said Michael Soter, Bellingham Board of Selectman chairman. Soter also noted that Bellingham schools will save nearly $6 million in energy costs over the 20-year life of the project.

Construction of the project began in March 2013. When completed in late June of this year, the expected annual output of 4,800 megawatt-hours will help provide the town with predictable, low-cost electricity rates over the next 20 years.

“This is a great example of a town taking the initiative to use renewable energy solutions as a way to reduce costs,” said Sanjiv Mahan, vice president of business development for Washington Gas Energy Systems. “It is rewarding to work on a project of this scale that furthers our mission to invest in the development of renewable energy assets that improve the environment.”

“Gehrlicher is honored to be the engineering, procurement and construction partner on this project,” added Jerry Shinn, chief operating officer of Gehrlicher Solar America Corp. “Our experience and commitment to quality will ensure to make this project a success both for Washington Gas Energy Systems and the town of Bellingham and hopefully set the example for more projects in that region.”

Source: Business Wire

2012 Was Record Year for Global Renewable Energy

Solar, wind and biofuels activities show increases in deployment, says Clean Edge’s Annual Trends report

clean energy montage shutterstock_42238996

Although 2012 proved to be an unsettling and difficult year for clean energy, the fundamental global market drivers for clean technology remained largely intact, according to the Clean Energy Trends 2013 report issued today by clean-tech research and advisory firm, Clean Edge, Inc.

This encouraging report shows that lower prices for many clean-tech goods and services, combined with a renewed focus on scalable projects, resulted in record annual solar, wind, and biofuels deployment. Against this continued expansion, however, combined global revenue for solar PV, wind power, and biofuels expanded just one percent, from $246.1 billion in 2011 to $248.7 billion in 2012. This marginal growth rate can be attributed to effects of rapidly declining solar PV prices.

“2012 was a year of extreme uncertainty for clean energy markets, as venture investors pulled back and high-profile bankruptcies became a partisan wedge in the presidential election, all while climate disruptions brought clean tech back into the limelight,” said Ron Pernick, Clean Edge co-founder and managing director, in a press announcement. “But a key lesson emerged from last year – the focus for investors and industry for the near- to mid-term will be on deployment.”

The Clean Energy Trends 2013 report’s key findings include:

Biofuels (global production and wholesale pricing of ethanol and biodiesel) reached $95 billion in 2012, up from $83 billion the previous year. From 2011 to 2012, global biofuels production expanded from 27.9 billion gallons to 31.4 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel.
Wind power (new installation capital costs) expanded to $73.7 billion in 2012, up from $71.5 billion the previous year. Global wind capacity additions totaled 44.7 GW (gigawatts) in 2012, a record year led by more than 13 GW added in both China and the U.S., and an additional 12.4 GW of new capacity in Europe.
Solar PV (including modules, system components, and installation) decreased from a record $91.6 billion in 2011 to $79.7 billion in 2012. While total solar market revenues fell 19 percent – the first PV market contraction in Clean Energy Trends’ 12-year history – global installations expanded to a new record of 30.9 GW. While only five years ago PV was being installed at roughly $7 per peak watt, today projects can be completed at closer to $2.50 per peak watt globally.
Together, Clean Edge projects these three sectors will nearly double from $248.7 billion in 2012 to $426.1 billion within a decade.
Venture capital investments in U.S.-based clean technology companies totaled $5 billion in 2012, falling 26 percent from $6.6 billion in 2011, according to data provided by Cleantech Group. Clean tech’s decline, however, matched a similar downward trend for total VC investment, with clean-tech investments still representing nearly one-fifth of all VC activity in the U.S.

Increased financing from deep-pocketed traditional energy and technology players reflects the move away from early-stage capital towards on-the-ground deployment. In early 2013, Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings expanded its solar portfolio with a whopping $2 billion acquisition of the Antelope Valley Solar Projects in Southern California. Google’s recent $200 million equity investment in a Texas wind farm pushed the tech giant’s ownership in solar and wind projects to a combined 2 GW. And in January 2013, car rental giant Avis Budget Group announced its plan to buy car-sharing pioneer ZipCar for $500 million.

The report lists five key trends that will impact clean-energy markets in the coming years:

1. Smart Devices and Big Data Empower Customers, Open New Chapter in Energy Efficiency

2. Distributed Solar Financing Comes of Age

3. Under the EV Radar, Microhybrid Technology Saves Big on Fuel Consumption

4. In the U.S. and Overseas, Geothermal Picks up Steam

5. Perfectly Natural: Biomimicry Makes its Mark on Clean Tech

Source: Business Wire

Graphic: Clean energy montage from Shutterstock

Wind News: Siemens Launches 4MW Offshore Wind Turbine; Vestas Annual Report Released; Ecotricity To Enter Urban Turbine Market,…

Catch up on wind energy news here, posted by Zach Shahan at Clean Technica.

Wind News: Siemens Launches 4MW Offshore Wind Turbine, Vestas Annual Report Released, Ecotricity To Enter Urban Turbine Market,… (via Clean Technica)